Venice: February 1535

Pages 16-18

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 5, 1534-1554. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1873.

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February 1535

Feb. 5. Deliberazioni Senato (Secreta), v. lvi. p. 77, tergo. 34. The Doge and Senate to Ibrahim Pasha. (fn. 1)
Return thanks for his letter from Tauris; congratulate him on his conquest of that city and of the province of Herat. Give him news of the Emperor's preparations in Spain, Genoa, and Naples. Their letters from France announce the return of the Admiral from England with news that the conference between the two Kings will be held next May at the latest.
Ayes, 150. Noes, 11. Neutrals, 10.
Feb. 22. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 35. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
I have been told by several persons that the Lutherans are in high spirits from hearing that the Pope purposes waging war in Italy (fn. 2), as they hope that with this opportunity many Italians of their sect who have hitherto been downcast and lacked courage to declare themselves, will now come forward, having the support and protection of the Powers thus attacked by his Holiness; and (to use their own words) they say that the Lutherans in Italy alone will suffice for an army to deliver them from the hands of the priests; and that not only in the cities of Italy are they in very great number, but also that so many of the sect amongst the monastic orders will declare themselves and take part, that they will intimidate their brethren. Here they have received from Rome the characters drawn by Pasquin on Twelfth night, and never weary of reading them to their very great delight, and are sending them all over Germany. I assure your Serenity that, from what my attendants tell me, during the Carnival there was a greater crowd in the fish market than now in Lent, the reason being that everybody chose to eat both fish and flesh; and at present few eat fish, and although the butchers' shops are closed by order of the King, in his palace, nevertheless, most of the household eat meat, and I am told that many persons who during the Carnival ate fish on the Fridays and Saturdays now eat fish every day. The Bishop of Vienna [John Faber] (fn. 3), preaches every morning in the Cathedral Church of St. Stephen, and is a very learned man and a most worthy prelate, but few persons attend his sermons. I inquired the cause, and am told it is because he does not expound the Gospel in their fashion, and that if the King would allow the Lutherans to preach, the whole town would go there; and in all the other churches there is either no sermon at all, or it is attended by still fewer persons. On his Majesty's departure hence for Moravia [in the second week of February] he summoned all the chief personages of his Court, and announced that he did not choose any of them or of his servants, to eat meat, or to live otherwise than catholically, and that he would not hesitate to dismiss such as disobeyed this order, however intimate they might be with him.
It is reported that the Duke of Wurtemberg and the Landgrave [of Hesse] have offered his Majesty, if he will expel the priests (I mention priests solely, as at present little is said about friars) throughout Germany, to recover for him at their own cost the whole of Hungary, and that he may also do what he pleases with the Church revenues in his own territories; but the King will not give ear to this in the least, and indeed evinces very great displeasure to those who speak to him on the subject. The Duke of Wurtemberg begs his pardon for all past offences, and requests him to obtain forgiveness from the Emperor. The King has pardoned him, and promised to obtain his pardon from the Emperor, and he [King Ferdinand] will give him the investiture of his Duchy, on condition of its reverting to the House of Austria should he leave no heirs, on which terms the Emperor gave the investiture of the Duchy to King Ferdinand. The son of the Duke of Wurtemberg is in France, his father being so brutish (tanto è bestial) that he cannot live with him. The Duke caused all the priests in his dominions to be bastinadoed, and then expelled them with all such persons as choose to live according to the Catholic religion; and your Serenity will remember that the chief cause of the late war was, because his wife (fn. 4) not choosing to live after his fashion, he bestrode her with spurs on his heels, and beat her as if she had been a horse, she being the sister of the Dukes of Bavaria, at whose request the Emperor deprived him of the Duchy, and gave it to the present King of the Romans; which the Dukes of Bavaria took much amiss, as although they wished their brother-in-law all possible harm, they did not intend the Duchy to be held by anybody but his son their nephew; and this was one of the causes of the enmity between them and King Ferdinand; but it now seems that they also are reconciled to him, and they are expected at Vienna shortly, to arrange everything.
Vienna, 22nd February 1835.
Feb. 27. Original Letter Book of Francesco Contarini in St. Mark's Library. 36. Francesco Contarini, Venetian Ambassador with the King of the Romans, to the Signory.
Don Martin de Guzman, King Ferdinand's most confidential chamberlain (camerier), told me that never did two brothers love each other better than the King and the Emperor; that when the Emperor had him elected King of the Romans [January 5, 1531] the Germans could not believe that his Imperial Majesty would give his brother that which in a few years might have been bestowed on his own son; and that on the birth of King Ferdinand's first son the Emperor swore several times that had the event occurred before his own marriage he would have remained single, and that he delayed it for several years in order to be dispensed from taking the step through the birth of an heir male to his brother. One day when the two were together at Ratisbon, whilst Solyman was marching on Vienna [September 1532], they went out hunting, and the two alone, with one sole attendant, drove a bear to bay in so narrow a pass that one of them alone single-handed must either kill the bear or be killed by him, whereupon King Ferdinand knelt to the Emperor beseeching him for leave to attack the bear, because any danger he might incur would be a lesser evil and less detrimental to Christendom than what might befal the Emperor; reminding him that Solyman was on the march to Vienna, and that were his Imperial Majesty to receive any hurt it would be the cause of some great calamity to Christendom. The Emperor answered him that for his own honour and for the love he bore his brother he could not consent, and he then went in first and killed the bear, who otherwise would indubitably have killed him. Don Martin then spoke to me of the great affection which the King and Queen bore each other, and said he thought a similar marriage had never been made, that since it took place not only had the King never known, but not even thought, of any other woman, as notorious to everybody, the Queen on her part being unable to exist without him, and now until he returns each day seems a year to her. He added that his Majesty's liberality is such that to enrich his servants he has impoverished himself, and a calculation has been made that of ten persons who possessed nothing when they entered his service, eight have each at present an annual revenue of 100,000 florins, two alone having but 50,000 florins each.
Vienna, 27th February 1535.


  • 1. Ibrahim, the prime minister of Sultan Solyman, was a Venetian subject born at Parga. See “Report” of Piero Zen. (Relazioni Venete, serie 3, vol. iii. p. 95.)
  • 2. Against the Duke of Urbino on account of Camerino. (See footnote, date 18 January 1535.)
  • 3. Mention has been made in vol. iv. pp. 39, 40, Venetian Calendar, of an Embassy to England performed by John Faber (afterwards Bishop of Vienna) in March 1527. The speech made on that occasion by Faber to Henry VIII. was answered by Sir Thomas More, whose eminent qualities were reflected in the person of John Faber, who was considered one of the most virtuous and learned men in Germany.
  • 4. Sabina, daughter of Albert IV., Duke of Bavaria; she was married on the 2nd March 1511, and died the 30th of August 1564, aged 73. (See Chiusole's Genealogies, p. 384.)